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Author Topic: Die-Cast toys into Post Apocalyptic vehicles  (Read 632 times)

Offline KD47

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Die-Cast toys into Post Apocalyptic vehicles
« on: April 17, 2021, 11:26:34 PM »
Hello All,  The topic for today: post apocalyptic vehicles and how to get more for less.

Need to create a junkyard full of old wrecks cheaply, or have an idea for some custom war wagon?     A pretty decent place to start is with a quick trip down to your local toy, grocery or drug store.    Somewhere on an end-cap display, you'll be able to find a display with some die-cast cars, which are oddly close to 28mm scale.

If you'd like to look some up online, one of the companies that make these is Kinsmart and a link for some is here:  https://www.amazon.com/s?k=kinsmart+diecast+cars&crid=ZUU0BEKT8TOI&sprefix=kinsmart%2Caps%2C264&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_3_8  Mind you, I'd get these from a local source if I could.  Amazon makes enough money from everyone.   For some, you may want to look up specific items on eBay.   Solido makes a pretty good military line, though their price reflects that.

The advantages of die-cast cars are:  price, an interior, moveable doors, clear windows, decent realism.   The disadvantages are:  the scale can vary.   Y'see, these are toys for kids, and they're pretty much all the same actual size.    That means a Prius or Cooper will be the same actual size as a muscle car or full-size pickup.   So stick with the trucks, jeeps, toyota corrollas, muscle cars, SUV's and stay away from the really little (in real life) cars.   You're shooting for scales between 1/60th and 1/43rd scale.  Anything bigger than that is no-go.  Take a mini with you when you buy if you want to make sure.   Some of their physically larger limousines and buses work well too.

Mind you, the manufacturers aren't really that accurate with the scales anyway.  Miniature manufacturers are more diligent.   For example, Crooked Dice offers an excellent series of vehicles and post-apoc add-ons which match their miniatures nicely.  Spectre minis does as well.   Spectre also has some excellent vehicle add-on kits that you may want to consider getting to mod your other vehicles.   I'd wholeheartedly recommend both of these lines.   

But back to the topic at hand.   When you buy your little toys, get out the old screwdriver and disassemble them.   This will let you paint the exterior and interior separately and give you a lot more leeway in the way you work.   Use all of your weathering tricks on these: Rust, chipped paint, latex mask, salt-masking, etc.   You'll probably find many excellent examples in this forum.   Then re-assemble them and they'll look great.    Be careful when using flat spray on clear plastic though.   You'll want to partially mask off the windshields so that they can retain some of their clarity.   This can be used to great artistic effect.    Also: with a metal body, chipped paint and other damage is easy.   Take an old pocketknife and just scratch and scrape the edges until you get something that looks beat up, and then do your weathering.   Or do it after.  Or rub them against the pavement for a while or maybe drag 'em on a string.  Whichever works best for you.

Above are some examples.  The road-warrior car is a kinsmart, and the 6-wheeler was a rare russian die-cast model.   The APC is a re-painted Solido.   You'll notice the 2 Alvis Stalwarts and the re-worked UFO Shado Mobile.   Those were had through eBay.   For those kinds of things, I'm gonna have to recommend (with extreme prejucice) a rule to operate by:  If you can get a model that's really really beat up and has almost no salvage value, get that one.    Pass on the nicer ones.  Those shouldn't be converted except back to their original form as they are rare collectibles, and therefore represent part of our culture, and ought to be preserved.    But if you can get a really grungy one (for cheap), go for it.

Another advantage of the really cheap wally-world or drugstore models is that you can create a bunch of wrecks to use as scatter scenery or to build your own model junkyard.    Below are some that I've worked up with several of my trashed-metal techniques.

« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 12:02:40 AM by KD47 »
For former content of mine, search my former user ID kalebdaark:


Offline mikos khan

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Re: Die-Cast toys into Post Apocalyptic vehicles
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2021, 12:17:43 AM »
Some of those vehicles seem oddly familiar to me.  BTW, awesome work - as always. 

Offline Rick W.

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Re: Die-Cast toys into Post Apocalyptic vehicles
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2021, 02:00:51 AM »
Brilliant work and great advice, thanks!
Rick, The Grumpy Gnome


Offline clanmac

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    • Clan Mac's Post Apocalyptia
Re: Die-Cast toys into Post Apocalyptic vehicles
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2021, 10:50:38 PM »
Great work. I love the smashed in windscreens.

It's not big, or clever, but let's do it anyway


Offline Cat

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    • Goblinhall
Re: Die-Cast toys into Post Apocalyptic vehicles
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2021, 11:08:00 PM »
Alackaday, I'm only seeing little there's a photo here icons, but no photos.
I've recently picked up a bunch of late-60s early-70s 1/64 cars for Mean Streets that will definitely be getting disassembled for weathering and dullcoting.  Will need to take a drill to the rivets in the chasses to pop them open.

Offline KD47

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  • What is best in life?
Re: Die-Cast toys into Post Apocalyptic vehicles
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2021, 12:04:36 AM »
If you're not seeing the pics, try a different browser.  That's worked for me in the past.  Otherwise:

Smashed windscreens:   When the car is still somewhat new and fully assembled, take a lighter to a spot on the windshield very briefly, then push in with a nail.   Rub away any soot.   Grind away the center section with a dremel.   Then, with an old exacto blade, scratch the shatter pattern into the windshield.   Wash some white paint into the shatter pattern, taking care to not get too much on the other glass parts.   Thin it down considerably so it just flows into the cracks.   Feel free to fully dull-cote this section of windshield because...... who's gonna clean a shattered windshield at the junkyard?

Speaking of which......  if you have a pick n pull or some other auto salvage place in your vacinity, it's worth a couple of hours to visit one as a minor "lab" in artistic education.   You'll see how rust looks, what happens when cars get burned up or are left to rot for a month or five or twelve.   Wear sturdy shoes, and leave the flip-flops at home.


« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 12:10:30 AM by KD47 »

Offline syrinx0

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Re: Die-Cast toys into Post Apocalyptic vehicles
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2021, 07:42:24 PM »
Nice work on the wrecks.
2020: +128; 2019:-471 2018: -47; 2017: -100; 2016:+1;


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